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Phones Confiscated as Connecticut Students Struggle to Focus

Windsor Locks High School in Connecticut is taking more of a hard-line stance against students having their personal phones out in class after staff noticed them being routinely distracted by the devices.

student distracted on smartphone
(TNS) — Windsor Locks High School is cracking down on students’ use of cell phones, which the principal says have become an obstacle to learning.

Principal Rebecca Bissonnette wrote in a letter to the school community that students “have become more connected than ever to their personal devices; however, now that we are back to full in-person learning, it has become evident that students are struggling to disconnect from their phones and engage in their learning.”

Starting Monday, teachers will take phones from students who have the devices out in class instead of in their backpacks or lockers, the principal wrote.

Board of education Chairwoman Patricia King said Bissonnette is enforcing a policy that previously had not been enforced at the high school.

The principal noted in her letter that all students have school-issued computers, so smart phones are not needed in class. Students will be permitted to check their phones during passing time and during lunch.

However, students who violate rules on use of cell phones, smart watches, iPads and other personal devices will face escalating discipline:

  • First offense: Teacher takes the device, places it in an envelope and has a security guard take it to the main office, returning it to the student at the end of the school day.
  • Second offense: Device is taken and will be returned only to a parent or guardian. The students gets office detention.
  • Third offense: Device confiscated and a family meeting is scheduled “to devise a plan for the student.” The student receives one day of in-school suspension.

Students who refuse to surrender their phones may face more serious consequences, Bissonnette wrote. She assured parents that they could reach their children during class time by calling the main office.

Echoing the struggles of other school districts, Bissonnette also wrote that the transition to a new school year in Windsor Locks “is proving to be a challenge for students to manage.”

Other high school and middle school administrators have reported an increase in student fights, vandalism to school buildings and other misbehavior after a year of lockdowns and virtual learning due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Grade-level meetings were planned at Windsor Locks High “to assist our students with getting back into the flow of routine and structures,” Bissonnette wrote.

©2021 Hartford Courant. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.